I really love playing with food and colours and compositions. This rainbow spaghetti is just so cute. It is really important to try to get kids to eat the rainbow. Every different food holds different nutrients and benefits and even if your child won’t eat everything, exposure is important.
As a parent, I have been struggling on and off for the last four years with my child’s eating habits. My son isn’t a bad eater he is just very picky and goes through a lot of phases. I have been very lucky though; Alexander eats a decent range of vegetables and adores fruit. Every so often Google photos reminds me of this day one, two, three and four years ago, and sometimes I am shocked to be reminded that Alexander actually ate food that was totally different to what he will eat now.
Kids go through phases!
One day eating mixed foods and trying vegetables that they wouldn’t be seen dead eating right now.
We went through the ‘sausage only’ phase (eating only real sausages), then the ‘only pasta phase’ and then the ‘white food’ phase. Only when my son was little would he eat foods all mixed together. Currently (and for the last 2 years) we are going through the ‘everything needs to be separate’ phase and he won’t touch a sausage unless it is cured and comes from the Polish food section, and he doesn’t eat burgers or pizza’s, which as a parent I was proud he didn’t like ‘fast food’ but these days, I would just love to finish work and be able to prepare a pizza for a change or go to a barbeque and know he will eat something on offer.
Since the first lockdown in 2020, Alex has improved. With no choice but to eat what I gave him 24/7, he expanded his food range to include fish, eggs and chicken, all still separate with each food item nowhere near the other. But this is still good. And he really loves grazing platters. I put together platters with a large range of foods and he picks away at it. The really annoying thing is that he eats whatever his father and school gives him to eat, no questions. This drives me nuts!!! When I hear that he ate things like curry and beef Babotie in crèche, I am like “Really, he ate what now?” The only way I can explain it is that when around other kids and a larger family, Alexander eats it all because there is so much distraction and his peers are eating it.
So yes, I am still trying to expand my child’s likes and dislikes. I still make fun food, using shapes and colours to entice him. I absolutely always give him one ‘no food’ on his plate and every single day it remains untouched. We also always eat together and we eat the same food.
This is one of the most colourful and fun plates of food I have put together for my son. Themed by differently coloured food groups, each section offers up at least one food he currently won’t eat. I can’t guarantee it will be eaten, but one day a nibble will be taken, the next month maybe, just maybe it will be eaten.
Rainbow pasta can be made using any shape of pasta. Really fun to make and eat!
This also doubles as a really fun sensory activity for younger kids. Make a bunch of the rainbow spaghetti and pop it into a large tray and let little kids mess and play. Add in ice cubes to the tray for little ones or even allowing kids safety scissors for older toddlers to practice their cutting skills.
- 200 g of spaghetti, or pasta of choice
- A mix of food colourings, I use good quality gel colours as they make for a really vibrant colour. Standard food colourings will work but the colours will be a little muted compared to gel colourings
- A range of colourful fruits and vegetables to work with your desired colours.
- Red options: sliced red peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, salami, red cabbage, red apples
- Yellow options: sliced yellow peppers, yellow cherry tomatoes, golden berries, bananas, baby corn, lemon slices, melon, carrots
- Purple/blue options: blueberries, blackberries, purple broccoli, olives, grapes, purple carrots
- Green options: kiwi, green apples, avocado, green beans, broccoli, green olives, cucumber, peas
- mixed colour babybel cheeses
- mini oranges
Cook the spaghetti or pasta following the instructions on the pack.
Once the spaghetti is ‘al dente’ or about a minute away from being fully cooked to your liking, drain the spaghetti (reserving a little of the cooking water, about a cup full) and separate into several bowls ,depending on the number of colours you want.
Add a tbsp of the reserved water to each bowl and a drop of the food colouring and mix well. Leave to stand for a few minutes, then rinse under cold water to set the colour.
To serve, pop into a microwave to heat or add to a saucepan with a tiny drop of water and warm through. Drizzle with oil or dressing and pair different colours of pasta with different fruits, vegetables or meats of similar colour.